The Old School Way: I'm hard at work on the light box in the late 1990s, sorting through a shoot on the stillborn Isotta Fraschini T8.
I pulled a file I hadn’t looked at in ages—stuff relating to my career. In it was a manila envelope labeled “First Photos Ever Taken,” which contained some shoots from my Photography 1A class at Foothill College in the late 1970s. Not surprisingly, many of the subjects were cars. The print and grading sheet seen in this blog entry were from our fourth assignment; if I remember correctly the subject matter was “Speed.”
I was seriously into cars back then, so my cousin and I drove several hundred miles to some historic races going on at Buttonwillow, a race track in southern California that was truly out in the middle of nowhere. Not many people were there, so I stood on the side of the track, doing my best to take what I would later learn was a panning shot.
The one I submitted was of this Ferrari 250 GTO Series II (seen above). The title of the print was “$50,000 Worth of Auto at 110 mph”; at the time of this writing, that car is worth a good $25 million or more! But what really caught my attention was the grade. The technical aspects are circled, the professor emphasizing “excellent” with the word “truly.”
I was dumbfounded when I saw that, and burst out laughing. I took the print and assignment sheet downstairs, and showed them to Mom, who was visiting. “Talk about prophetic,” I said, “look at this!” Here I was, looking back three-plus decades later after shooting and driving god knows how many things, at a college photo assignment I had completely forgotten about. That grading sheet and print clearly foretold what I would end up doing.
Here's how my college professor graded the 250 GTO image seen above. His observation of "truly" foresaw a career I could not have imagined at the time!
So, if there is any takeaway from this, and really from my blog and website, it is this: Follow your bliss. Do what you love. They don’t teach this in college when it really should be the first lesson everybody learns. When I made the switch from financial services to what I do today, it literally took me about a year to get used to being paid to do something I loved. My accountant immediately picked up on this and said, “I will never worry about you not making it. You love what you do too much, that any impediment you encounter will be a minor setback at most.”
Two decades later, he is still being proven right. Do what you love, for very rarely is it work!
Photographing an Aston Martin Vanquish in front of Ford's Premier Automotive Group building. At the time Aston was part of Ford, along with Jaguar and several other high end marques. Needless to say, days like this are an absolute joy...